Ogier handed comfortable lead
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, May 28th 2011, 20:35 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Argentina by 43.7 seconds at the end of day two, after trouble for his main rivals Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg.
The trio had been in a close fight all rally, with Latvala looking like he had the battle under control until he broke a compression strut on his Ford on SS13. He tried to effect a temporary repair but was instructed to retire early on the next stage.
That put Ogier in the lead by 21.1s over Solberg, until the latter developed power steering problems on the Santa Rosa stage and lost a minute.
Ogier expressed his sympathy for Solberg and admitted that he now looked set for victory unless anything went wrong.
"It's a shame for him, but I've pushed like I can this afternoon," said Ogier. "We had a very good rhythm and I'm very happy with my day.
"Without any problems, it will be okay - but it's never finished before the finish line."
Solberg has fallen to fourth, half a minute behind Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) and Sebastien Loeb (Citroen). Hirvonen was extremely unhappy with his pace today, and now has the flying Loeb just 4s behind him.
Sunday's final leg features just four stages - though the first is the monster 48-kilometre Asochinga. The subsequent three tests are only 11kms in total, as the rally concludes with two runs through the short Cabalango power stage and a return to the Carlos Paz superspecial.
Leading positions after SS15: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 3h20m05.8s 2. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 43.7s 3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 47.7s 4. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 1m16.1s 5. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 4m55.9s 6. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford + 5m52.9s 7. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 7m00.3s 8. Hayden Paddon Symtech Subaru + 21m58.3s 9. Patrik Flodin Uspenskiy Subaru + 29m58.3s 10. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Mitsubishi + 30m18.5s